In a culture obsessed with celebrities, those of prolific talent as well as those with a penchant for sex tapes and twerking, the lines between high and lowbrow are blurring. The words “style icon” are coined very loosely around figures in the media deemed to be notoriously “lowbrow” such as the likes of Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus. But with the levels of fame and popularity rising amongst such “clans” of celebrities, is the nature of what is “highbrow” actually changing? And what even is the meaning of “highbrow” nowadays anyway?
I personlly hate the terms high and lowbrow and the notion that it is already decided for me what is intellectually stimulating and what isn’t. We live in a world where virtually anyone can be famous, for anything. With the rise of YouTube stars such as Zoella and Tanya Burr; those making a name for themselves on Vine such as “King Bach” and Brittany Furlan; even up to the endless amount of bloggers that make themselves “popular” on the various social media platforms available for them to do so. So with all these rising stars and their followings, how do we decipher who is a celebrity and who is not? Is there a universal definition or is it a subjective outlook? Does having a massive following make you “highbrow”? That seems to be the way our society is changing. “Highbrow” used to mean something that is intellectual, cultured and serious. It is questionable as to whether the meaning remains the same, or at least the label of “highbrow” being used too loosely.
The rise of such tabloid figures has also participated in such blurred lines of high/lowbrow in fashion. The “celebrities” that are famous for what some would say “nothing”, are becoming ever more popular, which in turn makes them ever more richer which enables such “stars” to buy into “highbrow” fashion. This simple ability to shop has led certain media outlets to label these “stars” as “fashion icons”. All because they used their money to choose something to wear from a pre-styled mannequin.
Whilst I will be the first to admit my obsession with the Kardashians, my love for “reality” TV knows no bounds when it comes to The Real Housewives and I personally thought Miley’s twerking and tongue waggling incidents of 2013 were pure PR genius, I still feel nostalgic for a time when the Daily Mail weren’t constantly updating the world on who is dating who on TOWIE, or which Z-list “celebrity”, who everyone forgot about eight years ago, is pregnant again. Do we, the consuming public, actually care? Is this what stimulates us, what we consider to be “highbrow”? If not, what are we aiming for? Why don’t we, as intelligent consumers, solely focus on what we deem to REALLY be “highbrow”?
Why? Because we’re too busy discussing the likes of how fat Kim got whilst pregnant.